America, January 1, 2006
One lot, one tree, one day at a time - suburbia marches on!
Crack! Boom! That sound, its stately old pine trees snapping like twigs in the jaws of a land-clearing (bucket loader) bulldozer. Crunch, rumble, rumble. That's the sound of the bulldozer pushing years of palmetto and pine growth into one big pile, soon to be taken away to places unknown. The trees, maybe to a lumber yard, the palmettos, the dump I bet.
Yet another lot in my parent's neighbourhood is being cleared, shaved clean and bare, ready for the dump trucks. Soon they will come, first to take away the debris, then to bring truckloads of fill dirt. Then that flat scrub will be replaced by a house,a home, a family.
It would be hypocrisy to say they shouldn't come, to somehow feel that because we were here first, twenty years ago we have a say in stopping them. So what if they will most-likely be renters and my mom just paid off her house? I'm a renter and my mom was a renter for years before buying.
Still, deep down I can understand those who get vitriolic against sprawl. When you're there for years, you have a view of how a place should be, sans change. But the only constant is change and so my mom watches with patience.
Hopefully the new neighbors will be kind, fun, and quiet. Hopefully they will add to the feel of comradery that three hurricanes in 13 months brought to the community. Hopefully.
But then who knows who will move in? And who can say that they should? That somehow they are better than the trees, the palmettos, even the palmetto bugs that lived there for years before. Millennia, even. How omnipresent is man? How self-important? How will a house and a family be an improvement over trees and green? How can I question these new people - weren't we "new people" ourselves a moment in time ago?
Still, that sound, that "crack!" of pine trunk, to me that says only one thing: There goes the neighbourhood.